The power of PR… One of the most cost-effective and high impact ways of promoting a business, but often framed as one of the most expensive and difficult to quantify.
It is, however, easy when you know how and I’m going to share the secrets…
Upfront investment in photography
Yes, I know I said ‘PR on a budget’ and I genuinely meant it, however, an investment in photography will more than pay for itself now and in the future.
Not only do you need lifestyle photos for your website and your social media, but great quality, high-resolution product photographs are essential for your PR campaign. If you are working with a very limited budget and you have to make difficult choices about lifestyle vs. products photos then go with the product photos and then you can decide what works best for your brand, either flatlay/tabletop images; mannequin ghosting; or live model shots.
Once you have your imagery, label each image file with the product name, price, and your website address. This is part of the process of making things as easy as possible for a journalist and in short, if your images get separated from your brand information, all the relevant details are still available on the image itself.
Are press releases still a thing?
Yes and no, but you do need to have a brand biography and the information and story behind each collection you promote. A look-book using your gorgeous photographs is also going to help you with your PR activity when it comes to communicating your brand or collection most effectively.
The jury is out when it comes to how to attach or embed your content when sending to a journalist; some are happy with a PDF whereas PDF files for others are a no-no. Some prefer a word doc attachment, others want the content embedded in the email itself. There is no one solution that will fit every journalist, so just keep in mind the ‘ease of access’. Never make a journalist jump through too many hoops!
The best way to share your imagery, especially when high res, is to share it via a We-Transfer, Dropbox or Google Drive link.
Understand the media
What does your audience read? Where does your ideal client get their inspiration and information from? It is important that you understand your customer and market to them accordingly. That means that if your product is a luxury item, it won’t work for magazines like Good Housekeeping or Woman's World and equally, if your product is very accessibly priced, it probably won’t be the right fit for Elle or Vogue.
Get familiar with a handful of the magazines or online platforms that will be a good fit based on your research. Where can you see your product and brand featured? Maybe Stylist Magazine’s ‘Style List’ or ELLE’s Elle STYLE round up. Who is writing these articles? These are the names you need to reach out to. Phone the magazine switchboard and ask to be put through; ask for the best email address. Reach out to these journalists on Twitter; here you may find their email addresses or even tweet them to introduce your brand. Ask them what themes or content they are working on at the moment and in turn, offer anything relevant that you are able to provide in the way of imagery or samples.
This is the secret sauce. The good stuff that makes a PR pro’s life easier…. Real-time requests from journalists looking for content, images, samples, interview candidates and more.
This insight into exactly what a journalist is working on, and looking, for is invaluable and gives an even greater chance of coverage when you are able to deliver a solution to a problem you know they have. One of the most popular is HARO, or Help a Report Out and though they do offer a paid subscription model, most companies use the free service! HARO offers sources real-time media opportunities, straight from journalists on a deadline needing a source. It is trusted by reporters from Yahoo!, Reuters, Inc.com, SheKnows.com and many others and offers a large variets of requests daily.. Make sure to use this service to advance your PR efforts first, but if you find that you need more sources, there are a few other journo request services that can be a little pricey such as Just Reach Out and ProfNet, but they are definitely worth exploring especially if you are just starting out and don't have any leads at all. Last but not least check out
#journorequest on Twitter is free and used by journalists to ask for the information that they need to help them with their features. Some days may be a complete loss but others could be very lucky and get you some great opportunities.
Often, gifting =pricey, however, some carefully considered gifting could really pay off.
Whether it is a well-placed journalist with a strong social media presence or an influencer with an engaged following, a genuine, very human approach to a handful of these types of influencers could result in fruitful connections, great social media mentions,, and a few high profile supporters of your brand.
Are there people you’ve enjoyed watching over recent months? Influencers whose content you’ve really engaged with? Someone who has inspired you? Reach out and ask if you can send a gift to say ‘thank you’. Unless there is a contract in place for collaboration and payment being made, there can be no way of guaranteeing social media endorsement following the gifting. However, write a genuine note, include your details and social media handles and the recipient of your gift will often be quite likely to share across social media to some degree, thus securing you a ‘celebrity fan’ and endorsement.
With any PR activity, the trick is not to put all of your eggs into one basket. Try a mix of actions and broaden your audience and presence!